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Danube River Cruise

 

Vantage Deluxe World Travel

 

September 2001

 

 

September 2001, my first river cruise.  I flew to Budapest to

meet the River Navigator.  The Navigator is a river style

cruiser that holds 120 persons and is low and sleek in design. 

You can sit on the upper desk which covers almost the whole

ship to sightsee.  It is a very leisurely style of travel and allows

one to take in all the sights in a relaxed manner.  We sailed

from Budapest to Melk, Austria.  We had port stops in Bratislava

and Vienna.  There were also stops at other smaller villages

along the river.  It was a short one week excursion.  The trip

was terrific in every way except that we were in Melk on 9/11. 

There were some anxious moments around the attack and

whether we would get home as planned.  Fortunately the ship

had CNN News and British SKY News on the television

system all the time.  Once we got the events of the attack sorted

out things settled down for all of us.  We were able to fly home

from Budapest as scheduled.  We did not find out we could get

home until the evening before the morning we left.

 

 

buda.jpg

When I arrived in downtown Budapest located on the Danube River

bank, I immediately saw the Buda Palace across the river.  Later in

the cruise/tour, I was able to visit the palace.  It is a very

impressive structure.

Further down the river in Budapest was the Parliament Building. 

We had a tour of the building.  There were many interesting displays

of historical artifacts.

opera.jpg

After boarding our cruise ship in Budapest we sailed up river to

Bratislava, the capital of Slovenia.  This is the National Opera House

of Slovenia.  Interesting country which would not allow their

young people to leave.

fountain.jpg

This picture was taken in the court yard of a local museum in

downtown Bratislava.

This picture was taken in the museum court yard.  A Saturday

market was being held.  Musician's played local music and local

venders were selling a wide variety of items.

On the streets of Bratislava were many interesting pieces of statuary. 

I could not resist having my picture taken with some of them.

Another interesting statue!

Back sailing on the Danube River.  We are heading up river

toward Vienna.  Notice that the countryside is flat. 

We finally have sunshine.

We left Vienna after a two night stay.  We were docked very

close to downtown Vienna.  The first evening were

went to a traditional Viennese concert.  Lots of waltzes

were on the playbill.  The second evening, were ventured

into the hills around Vienna to visit a local winery.  It as

a very pleasant evening.  Vienna is a busy and beautiful city. 

I enjoy visiting it.

This is the pilot house where the crew steered the boat. 

Some bridges were so low that they had to collapse the

pilot house to clear.

We are still further up the river.  Notice that the river is

flowing through steep hillsides.  The farming of the

flat area has changed.  There are some

vineyard appearing.

Suddenly a beautiful castle would appear around the

bend in the river.  You could (and I did) spend hours

viewing the sights along the river.  There quaint villages

and many churches as we sailed along.

river.jpg

Another view of the Danube River as we sail along.

The harbor gateway to Melk, Austria. 

A very quaint village on the river.

This the River Navigator docked at Melk.  It was a cool day. 

The whole trip was on  the cool side and all the natives

were telling us how unusually cool the weather was.

The beautiful Abbey at Melk.  The date is September 11, 2001. 

We heard about the terrorist attack at 4:30 pm local time. 

Fortunately, our ship had a very good TV network reception,

so we got up to date coverage of the events in the US. 

We were able to watch CNN & British Broadcasting Company's Sky news. 

It was a most unsettling time for all of us on the cruise as it was

all US citizens.  We began to be concerned about our

flights home after the cruise.

village.jpg

We had to continue on our cruise.  We are now headed

back to Budapest with stops along the way.  This is a

picture of a narrow street in Durnstein, Austria.  It was noted

that as we sailed there were many, many flags at half staff. 

In Budapest, the citizens has their mourning

flags out on their homes.

horsesaa.jpg

After the cruise part of the trip ended, we had a post cruise

stay in Budapest of two days.  It provided time to tour

Budapest and to visit a horse farm in the country.

This is a picture of Dan Edwards, of Virginia playing

the role of a Hungarian cowboy.  Great fun!

 

As our tour and cruise ended we were able to fly home

as scheduled.  At first, we thought we would be staying

extra days in Budapest.  The tour staff even arranged

for us to stay at our hotel if needed.  Confirmation of

our travel plans came to us late in the afternoon on Sunday, the day before we were to leave.  Security in all the airports in Europe was very high. 

All persons and their carryon bags were

search multiple times.

 

Upon my arrival in Newark, I discover some increase

in security but not like in Europe.  Some how the US

still had not accepted the sense of urgency

around being secure in our airports.

 

It was a wonderful trip and I am now hooked on

river cruising.  It is the best way to travel!